In fact, he’d prefer it if you’d keep your dog to yourself — out of the park he wants to read in, away from the cafe where he enjoys his Frappuccino, and definitely not in the gym in which he works out.
It was a case of the latter that triggered a well-written, semi-playful, anti-dog diatribe he wrote for Slate last week.
Manjoo argued that dogs are getting too many privileges. He pointed out that not everybody enjoys their presence, cited health hazards they could conceivably pose, and suggested all those people who take their dogs everywhere start leaving them at home.
Not sharing one’s dog? To me, that’s the equivalent of hiding a Van Gogh behind an ironing board in the basement. Or putting a newfound cure for cancer in a time capsule. Or shielding your eyes — just to be safe — from a blazing sunset.
Still, we’d defend Manjoo’s preference to live life without somebody else’s dog in his face. That’s his right. It’s his loss, but it’s also his right.
Manjoo is Slate‘s technology columnist and the author of True Enough: Learning To Live in a Post-Fact Society. So it doesn’t surprise me — he being caught up in all things digital — that he has failed to catch on to or be captivated by the wonder of dogs.
Microchipping aside, dogs and technology are best kept separate. They don’t always get along, maybe because they are the antithesis of each other. Technology may be the cure for everything, but dogs are the cure for technology. We’ll get back to this point, but first let’s look at what Manjoo said — after an unwanted encounter with a Doberman inside his gym.
“The dog came up to me, because in my experience that’s what dogs do when you don’t want them to come up to you. They get up real close, touching you, licking you, theatrically begging you to respond… I guess I was fairly sure he wouldn’t snap and bite me, but stranger things have happened — for instance, dogs snapping and biting people all the time.
“Why was this dog here? And why was no one perturbed that this dog was here?
“…No one was asking because no one could ask. Sometime in the last decade, dogs achieved dominion over urban America. They are everywhere now, allowed in places that used to belong exclusively to humans, and sometimes only to human adults: the office, restaurants, museums, buses, trains, malls, supermarkets, barber shops, banks, post offices… Dogs are frequently allowed to wander off leash, to run toward you and around you, to run across the baseball field or basketball court, to get up in your grill. Even worse than the dogs are the owners, who seem never to consider whether there may be people in the gym/office/restaurant/museum who do not care to be in close proximity to their dogs. …”
Manjoo admits to not being a dog person, but at least — unlike most anti-dog types — he has a sense of humor about it.
“It’s not that I actively despise mutts; I just don’t have much time for them, in the same way I don’t have time for crossword puzzles or Maroon 5,” he writes.
“But here’s my problem: There’s now a cultural assumption that everyone must love dogs. Dog owners are rarely forced to reckon with the idea that there are people who aren’t enthralled by their furry friends, and that taking their dogs everywhere might not be completely pleasant for these folks.”
And seldom, he points out, does anyone whose dog accosts him say they’re sorry.
“… I can promise you she won’t apologize for the imposition. Nor will she ask you if you mind her dog doing what he’s doing. Nor will she pull on its leash, because there won’t be a leash, this being an office, where dogs are as welcome as Wi-Fi and free coffee.”
The same holds true, he notes, at coffee houses.
Here we should point out that the dog pictured atop this post is mine, and that, in the photo, Ace is enjoying an iced coffee product at Starbucks, offered to him by a customer whose behavior indicated she wanted him to visit her table.
When I take Ace to a Starbucks, or most anywhere else, it’s usually pretty apparent who wants to meet him and who doesn’t, and I restrain him accordingly. I don’t have to compile any data or crunch any numbers, I can just tell. It’s not brain surgery, or computer science.
Even though most people go to Starbucks for the free Wi-Fi, or the expensive coffee, I’d estimate about one of two customers wants to meet my dog. Ace — and this isn’t true of every dog — has a way of figuring that out himself, and generally will avoid those who show no interest in him, unless they are in the process of eating a muffin or pastry, in which case he’s willing to overlook the fact they may not be dog lovers.
What makes the numbers even more impressive is that 8 of every 10 customers at your typical Starbucks are under the spell of their computer device and not at all cognizant of what’s going on around them.
Ace is sometimes able to break that spell, at least he does for me.
As for me, I’d rather have access to Fido then Wi-Fi anyday. Fido will soothe me. Wi-Fi will likely, at some point, make me angry and frustrated. Fido will focus me. Wi-Fi will distract me. Wi-Fi will accost me with uninvited and intrusive messages, and send me alerts, and remind me of all the things I need to do today. Fido will remind me all those things aren’t really that important and can wait until tomorrow. Wi-Fi will take me out of the moment; Fido will keep me in it. Wi-fi has no soul. Fido does, and his presence allows our souls – those of us who have them — to be refreshed. Dogs keep us from becoming an entirely manic society.
No one, if I have my laptop on, will want to come up and pet it, except maybe Farhad Manjoo, who — while not having the least bit of interest in my dog — is probably curious about my gigabytes and apps.
On this much I will agree with Manjoo: There are dog owners who seem unaware that not everybody will delight in their dog, oblivious to the fact that some might find their dog annoying and intrusive. Similarly, though, there are parents of children who don’t realize not everybody will delight in their antics. Similarly, too, there are grown-up people who fail to realize that they themselves are annoying and who we’d prefer not to have inflicted upon us.
Unfortunately, we can’t just ban them. Our choices are limited. We could work on being tolerant – of all ages, sizes, shapes and species, despite their noise, intrusiveness and abrasiveness levels. Or we could go somewhere else. Or we could complain.
Sometimes, when visiting a Starbucks or other coffee place, I wonder if I should lodge an official complaint with management about Wi-Fi — objecting to its omnipresence, and how it seems to be turning people into keyboard-pushing zombies.
“No,” I’d say, “I’m not technically allergic to it, but I’m uncomfortable with it near. I’ve had some bad experiences with it. Sometimes it bites people when they least expect it, and I’m pretty sure it harbors germs.”
“But it’s wireless,” the manager might say.
“Exactly,” I’d say with a huff. “Put a leash on it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apps, behavior, cell phones, coffee, common sense, computers, culture, devices, digital, dislike, dog, dog friendly, dogs, dominion, farhad manjoo, fear, gyms, hate, laptops, leash, leashed, love, manners, parks, pets, place, privileges, public, rights, slate, society, starbucks, technology, unleashed
It’s described as the first-ever facility dedicated strictly to providing behavioral rehabilitation to canine victims of cruelty.
The center opened this week as a partnership between the ASPCA and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, N.J., according to a press release.
In addition to working to rehabilitate the dogs who end up there, the center’s findings will be the basis of a research study that will be shared with shelters and rescue groups across the country.
“For some animals, the reality is that after a lifetime of neglect and abuse, the rescue is just the beginning of their journey to recovery,” said Dr. Pamela Reid, vice president of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team.
“The ASPCA recognized the need for a rehabilitation center that will provide rescued dogs customized behavior treatment and more time to recover, increasing the likelihood that they will be adopted.”
Dogs eligible for treatment at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center will be those rescued from animal cruelty investigations conducted by the ASPCA as well as by other shelters and rescue groups.
The ASPCA says dogs admitted to the center will undergo an intensive rehabilitation regimen, including customized behavior modification treatments to reduce fear and anxiety.
Treatment plans will incorporate the use of “scientifically sound techniques designed to reduce the dogs’ fear of people and other dogs, acquainting them to unfamiliar objects, sounds, living areas, and real-life situations that can induce trauma and severe stress among this population.”
The primary goal is to improve their well-being and help them become suitable for adoption.
Work conducted at the center will be featured in a research study evaluating successful methods and treatment protocols for rehabilitating undersocialized, fearful dogs. The findings will be shared with animal welfare organizations and scientific communities nationwide.
“Many shelters around the country are doing great work in terms of rehabilitation and behavior modification, but often times they are stretched thin and may not have the resources to work with animals who need more time,” said Kristen Collins, director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation.
“Our goal is to not only rehabilitate the dogs we admit into the program, but to also collect data for our research study so we can share these findings with other animal shelters and rescue groups. We want others to be equipped to better treat those undersocialized dogs in their care so they can save more animals.”
(Photo: ACPCA photo of Musketeer, a five-year-old pit bull mix, with Pia Silvani, vice president of Training and Behavior for St. Hubert’s, at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Madison, N.J.)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 13th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, aspca, behavior, behavior modification, behavioral, cruelty, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, evaluation, fear, hoarders, hoarding, madison, new jersey, pets, puppy mills, recovery, rehab, rehabilitation, rescues, research, shelters, st huberts animal welfare center, trauma
No animals, or babies, were harmed in the making of these videos.
The top one shows a one-year-old Siberian husky-Australian shepherd mix named Haiku going through his first car wash.
The second one shows an unidentified baby also experiencing a car wash for the first time.
I recommend starting them up at the same time.
Notice the similarities in reactions — namely, the bug-eyed look they both get, a seeming mix of horror, uncertainty and curiosity.
All of which proves nothing major — only that, for dogs and humans, a new environment is scary the first time you roll through it, especially one with noisy blasts of water, flailing sponge strips, whipping brushes and mounds of cascading suds that seem intent on burying you.
By the time we — dog or human — take our second trip through the car wash, though, it’s usually a different story. It’s not as scary. The baby, in fact, appears to be getting used to it by the end of the video, relaxing enough to enjoy a sip of his beverage.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, australian shepherd, baby, behavior, car wash, conditioning, dog, dogs, environment, fear, first time, haiku, horror, husky, mix, new, new situations, pets, video, videos
As wonderful a tool as social media is for defending, locating, rehoming, advocating for and generally protecting man’s best friend, there are times when its power gets embarrasingly out of control.
The “nails in cheese” story is a case in point — one that proves yet again that, when stories go viral, not even a dose of truth can slow them down.
“New trend at dog parks, nails in pieces of cheese, if you take your dogs to dog parks, please be careful!!” Eric “Pack Ethic” Bellows, one of many overspreading the news, reports on his Facebook page.
It’s not a “new” trend, or even a trend at all — at least it wasn’t before the photo started getting “shared” all over the Internet.
It apparently was one incident, three months ago, at a dog park in South America.
True, it was a heinous act, and should be reported, but calling it a trend, blowing it out of proportion, making it sound like it’s happening next door, is irresponsible. And scarier yet, once that starts happening, it’s often irreversible — almost out of control.
In addition to planting evil seeds in twisted minds, the photo is unnecessarily alarming thousands of dog lovers, who, always willing to speak out from the heart about mistreated dogs, sometimes don’t check the facts first.
Bellow’s Sunday Facebook post on spiked cheese — the photo and a brief and vague description – had drawn nearly 2,500 comments by Monday, and been shared by nearly 3,900 people. By this morning, there were 9,000 comments and 12,000 shares.
Most of the comments, as you can imagine, address how reprehensible the act was, and what should be done with the perpetrator, once caught.
A few ask when and where it happened — information not included in Bellow’s post.
Of course Bellows, who runs a rescue organization out of his home, is not the only one inflating the story to mythical proportions.
Through through social networking sites like Tumblr and Facebook, the nails and cheese story is spreading like wildfire, according to ThatsNonsense.com.
The website reports the single incident – a dog walker found the spiked treats in in Centennial Park, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires — was reported locally and then picked up by Perfil.com.
“After research on the Internet, we were unable to find any other stories … thus making it unlikely that this is a “trend” — rather an apparently isolated incident many months ago.
“Whilst it is difficult to ascertain for definite whether this has ever happened anywhere else before, we have to acknowledge we live in a big world full of sick, twisted people so the likelihood that some future events linked to the message above happening again is certainly possible, if not likely – however this appears to be nothing more than a relatively isolated incident – there is no trend or serial “cheese spiking” occurring, and circulating this message is most likely going to be a total waste of time rather than helpful.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cheese, concern, dog park, dogs, facebook, facts, fear, incident, internet, isolated, myths, nails, nails in cheese, pets, photo, rumor, social media, south america, spiked, spreading, story, tacks, treats, trend, truth, warning
Dr. Priya Punjabi told Phillyburbs.com that a large animal could scare or upset her patients — though the couple with the guide dog were the only ones in her Bensalem office when they arrived. The doctor also said she is afraid of dogs.
Lat week, Joseph Cichonski, 58, who is visually impaired, accompanied his wife to Punjabi’s office, where she was scheduled to receive a physical.
Cichonski said his guide dog, Hero, a golden retriever/Lab mix, was lying calmly at his feet in the waiting room when the doctor approached and told him pets weren’t allowed in the office.
“We simply asked him to step outside,” the doctor explained later. “I have my rights and my phobias, too.”
“I told her that it’s not a pet, it’s a guide dog, but she still said I couldn’t have him in there,” Cichonski said.
Cichonski said he and Hero stepped outside the office because he didn’t want to cause a scene. His wife, who was told she wouldn’t be treated while the dog was in the office, also left.
The Cichonskis called police, who interviewed the parties involved and filed a report. Cichonski said Wednesday that he’s exploring his options.
“I’m not trying to cause a fuss,” he said. “I just want to let people know that things like this are happening and I’d like to prevent them from happening to other people with disabilities.”
Rocco Iaculla, an attorney with the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, said the doctor’s actions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“You cannot exclude service animals except in very specific situations,” he said. “Unless the animal is out of control or not housebroken or someone nearby has a severe allergic reaction, you must permit them in any area that the public is permitted. It has to be more than someone feeling uncomfortable with an animal present.”
(Photo: Kim Weimer / Phillyburbs.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: americans with disabilities act, animals, bensalem, bucks county, denied, disabilities, disability rights network, doctor, dogs, fear, guide dogs, hero, joseph cichonski, pets, police, priya punjabi, report, service dogs
Officials in Jiangmen, China, are banning residents from keeping dogs in the city and are telling owners to begin taking their dogs to drop-off centers, where they will either be adopted by rural residents or euthanized.
The ban will be in effect in the most densely populated sections of Jiangmen, a city with a population of 3.8 million.
China Daily reports that dogs will be prohibited in urban public places and illegally raised dogs will be confiscated or hunted in Jiangmen city starting August 26, according to the city government of South China’s Guangdong province.
“We hope that all citizens will cooperate with us in creating a civilized Jiangmen and send their dogs to outskirts or rural areas,” said an official from the municipal committee of political science and law.
The notice has raised great concerns among citizens. “It’s unfair to kill all dogs without allowing people to get their dog a license. Their doing this shows no respect of life,” a citizen said. Others are calling for a more reasonable regulation on dog-raising.
The Daily Mail, in London, reports that up to 30,000 dogs could be put down in connection with the ban, which was prompted by an outbreak of rabies. Forty-two residents have reportedly died of rabies in the last three years.
Officials issued a declaration, called The Notice on Strengthening the Management of Dogs, which stated that residents must re-home their dogs between August 10 and 25. After the 25th, authorities will start confiscating dogs found in the area included in the ban.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, ban, china, city, culling, dog, dogs, euthanized, fear, government, guangdong province, jiangmen, killing, outbreak, pets, rabies, urban
I don’t know which one of your prayers or well wishes did the trick, or if it was the power of them combined, or if it was the puking, or if perhaps it was the nap (I think they can cure about everything), but six hours after he could barely walk, Ace was unexplainedly up and running.
“Stop running,” I told him.
But given I was smiling, tearing up and having difficulty working up the stern tone sometimes required for him to obey, he apparently didn’t feel the need to pay attention. Either that, or he was as happy as I was.
Six hours after he could barely stand up, he was ready to romp.
What befell him yesterday morning is a mystery, and your conjecture is welcome, because I’d like to figure it out.
You’ll recall, maybe, that he had some disc problems a few months back. Those, treated with steroid pills, vanished after the second round of drugs. While that ailment didn’t affect his ability to walk, it was clearly painful and led him to yelp out, whereas yesterday he didn’t seem to be in any pain at all.
After sleeping in yesterday — til almost 11 a.m. — he got up to find he couldn’t get up. It seemed to be just one front leg affected at first, but then I noticed his rear leg on the same side was dragging, splaying out, and clearly not following his brain’s command.
The vet, who had recommended he see a dog neurologist, came out to the car, tied an IV bag to my roof rack and administered what’s called a subcutaneous drip to restore his fluids.
During it, I noticed some slight signs of improvement. Ace sat up, and seemed to be putting weight on the bad side. Once back home he seemed even better, though the right front paw still seemed to have a mind of its own, flopping down on the ground in an exxagerated motion.
After the nap, he insisted on going outside, where he proceeded to walk 99 percent normally, run 99 percent normally and pester me to play 100 percent normally.
I calmed him down, insisting that he chill, and told him we would withhold any celebrations until tomorrow — after seeing whether he gets up with the same problems or not.
It was a scary day, and I can’t tell you how many roads my mind went down. Was it going to be something as serious as it appeared, could I afford the tests to have it diagnosed, much less to have it treated? Would it prove fatal? How badly would I fall apart if so, and could I ever be put back together again?
Sitting in the exam room, waiting for the vet, I reminded myself every minute or so that it wasn’t about me. I reminded myself that I’m a cool-headed sort. But inside, I had turned drama queen.
Ace has given me some scares before during our travels, with his herniated disc, when he disappeared through a swimming pool cover, when he jumped over the fence at Niagara Falls. This one was by far the worst, because there was no explanation for it, no precipitating event — just a sudden loss of limb control.
It’s nothing to take lightly, and even if he seems 100 percent today, I know he needs to be checked out by a specialist. Some breathing room to do that would be nice, though.
I am of that percentage of society that places their dog’s health above their own. Lacking health insurance — for me or him — I am also of the ignore it and maybe it will just go away school.
Yesterday was so frightening I made an exception.
While his problem may not truly be gone, I’m glad it’s gone for now. Borrowed time? We’ll take it.
On our way to the car, for the drive to the vet, Ace was barely able to walk, even with me lifting up on his harness. He leaned his weak side into me for support. He’s normally a leaner, but not when he walks. That it is when I first lost it — it being composure.
That simple trusting act, on his part, somehow pushed me over the edge — partly because he did it without thinking twice, partly, truth be told, because of the realization that I lean on him much more than he leans on me.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bond, control, difficulty, dogs, fear, health, leaning, legs, limbs, neurology, pets, road trip, sick, specialist, travels with ace, vet, veterinarian, veterinary, walking
Baltic, the Polish dog rescued from an ice floe in the Baltic Sea, is back at sea — this time wearing a life jacket and riding aboard the ship that saved him.
The Associated Press reports that Baltic embarked Wednesday on a three-day mission alongside his new owner Adam Buczynski, the seaman who pulled him to safety from an ice sheet in the Baltic Sea last month.
Buczynski said the dog seemed stressed by the commotion of preparing for the trip.
Ewa Bardziej-Krzyzankowska, spokeswoman for the Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia, co-owner of the ship, said the crew had anti-nausea pills for Baltic in case he gets seasick on the journey, whose purpose is to collect samples of fish and sea plants for an aquarium in Gdynia.
Bardziej-Krzyzankowska said Baltic quickly learned that he was to only use one spot on an outdoor deck to go the bathroom, one which the crew hoses down regularly. Baltic resisted a bath after his rescue, she reported, leading Buczynski to take the dog into his arms and take a shower with him.
Buczynski and other crew members spotted the dog Jan. 25 floating 15 miles from land. Baltic was first seen two days earlier on the Vistula River, 60 miles inland, drifting on ice past the city of Grudziadz, where firefighters tried but failed to save him.
(Photo: Krzysztof Mystkowski/Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adam buczynski, amazing, animals, back to sea, baltic, baltic sea, crew, dog, fear, floating, floe, gdynia, ice, ice sheet, miracle, mission, pets, polish, rescued, sea, sea fisheries institute, seaman, trip, vistula river
When a Maltese-poodle mix named Mindy was found after being lost for 100 days in the woods of northwest Massachusetts, she was infested with fleas, her weight had dropped to three pounds, and her fur was so matted over her face that she couldn’t see, which explained why she was running around in circles.
She was “effectively blind,” said Martha King-Devine, of the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society. “She was just skin and bones when they brought her into the shelter.”
Mindy was lost during a family trip in August, surviving more than three months among the owls, foxes, coyotes and bears who dwell in the woods, the Mansfield News Journal reports.
Mindy had disappeared when Kathy and John Dunbar stopped at a rest area on their way to Maine to visit a terminally ill relative. “I thought he put her in and he thought I put her in,” Dunbar said.
Back on the road, they realized Mindy was missing, and retraced their route, spending six hours trying to find her. They also dropped off business cards at shops and police stations, and filed a report with the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society — all, it seemed, to no avail.
On Nov. 13, though, Mindy was found by Tye Carlson, a boy with autism, about 30 miles from the rest area. Tye and his father took her to a local veterinarian, then took her home, where Tye — normally fearful of dogs, according to his mother – became fast friends with Mindy.
The Carlsons were more than happy to keep Mindy, but when they learned — through the humane society — that she had been reported missing three months earlier, Carlson and her son knew that they had to give Mindy back to her owners.
Mindy is back home with the Dunbars now.
Mrs. Carlson, meanwhile, said she is “definitely thinking” about getting a dog for her son now.
Here’s hoping he gets a great one.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: autism, autistic, bonding, dakin pioneer valley humane society, dog, dogs, fear, found, john dunbar, kathy dunbar, lost, maltese, massachusetts, mindy, pets, poodle, returned, tye carlson, woods
With the thunder and lightning seeming to be nearly a daily occurence this week, here are some tips on helping your dog weather the storms.
Dogs’ fear of thunder can be a result of different factors. Some dogs may be genetically disposed to the problem, while others may have learned to be afraid of storms. Some may react mildly to them, some severely. Some — as with my dog Ace and fireworks — don’t develop the fear until they are 4 or 5 years old. As a result there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment, but here’s a look at some of them remedies being touted on the marketplace.
For starters, good old fashion cotton stuffed in the ears helps some, but make sure you don’t stuff it in so tightly and deeply it becomes stuck.
Some veterinarians suggest trying to desensitize the dog to thunder by playing a tape or CD with storm sounds, turning it on for a few seconds at a time, then increasing the increments, until the dog becomes conditioned to it.
Many theorize that it’s the static electricity and changes in barometric pressure that disturbs some dogs, which explains why they might get upset before the storm actually starts, or why they might head for the bathtub.
The “Storm Defender” — one of the solutions featured in the video above — is a product that claims to keep your dog from becoming anxious and destructive during a storm by putting him in a cape made of metallic fabric. It’s makers say it disperses the static electricity that builds up before a storm and may make a dog feel unsettled.
Other versions of canine ”thunderwear” are available, ranging from earmuffs and head halters to swaddling attire that can help calm stressed-out dogs.
Other remedies include medication, such as anti-anxiety drugs — the canine versions of Xanax of Prozac — that are becoming increasingly prescribed by veterinarians. Some suggest the herbal form of Valium, valerian, or dog appeasing pheromones.
Beyond that, the advice is much the same as it is for the Fourth of July – turn on the television, stay home, play music, let the dog stay close, but don’t coddle , and above all, don’t scold.
For even more tips and background, check out this Associated Press story.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: barometric pressure, care, cotton, desensitize, disturbed, dogs, drugs, electricity, fear, health, loud, medication, noise, remedies, safety, solutions, static, storm defender, storms, thunder, thunderwear, tips, treatment, upset